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Parent Relocation and Child Custody in New York

As a Long Island Child Custody Attorney practicing in Nassau County and Suffolk County, NY, I see first-hand how when one divorced parent wishes to relocate, it is often a source of great stress to both the children and parents alike. While the parent’s relocation may be necessary and for good reason, the family often faces uncertainty about how Child Custody and Visitation will be affected after the move. Relocation will certainly affect relationships within the family, and can also affect the children’s relationships to school, activities, and friends.

Relocation Affects Rights of Custodial and Non-Custodial Parents Alike

Relocation and child custody can be one of the most contentious issues in the process of divorce or a modification to a divorce agreement. Custodial parents (most often the mother, but those statistics continue to change) are often indirectly restricted from moving out of their home state as it will affect the rights of the noncustodial parent. In such cases, where a custodial parent needs to relocate for work or other valid reasons, the custodial parent is forced to make a difficult decision: whether to move for the benefit of the family, or to remain in the home state for the comfort and convenience of the children and former spouse. A custodial parent who had more children in a new marriage may feel forced to choose among the children if faced with a decision of whether to relocate. In some cases, the children would greatly benefit from coming along for the move; in others, the child may benefit from remaining in the home state, but courts in Nassau County and Suffolk County are reluctant to allow the child to move.

What do Suffolk County or Nassau County Courts Consider Valid Reasons for Relocation?

When determining child custody and visitation, courts in Suffolk County and Nassau County place great emphasis on the best interests of the child. Courts will consider all of the relevant facts and circumstances in order to make this determination, including the child’s wishes. The court will first look to whether the reason for relocating is supported by good reason. Moving for work or family reasons is most often considered valid as it tends to benefit the family, while relocating out of spite to the noncustodial parent will most likely be considered invalid.

Suffolk County or Nassau County Courts May Change Child Custody or Visitation

In some cases, the child’s best interests are served by a change in child custody or visitation. For example, if the noncustodial parent wishes to gain custody of the child, and the child’s ties to the community and relationship with the noncustodial parent are very strong, this will weigh in favor of allowing the child to stay with the noncustodial parent. In others cases, the child’s best interests may be best served by maintaining the current custody and visitation arrangement. Each unique set of family dynamics will direct a slightly different result.

Child Custody and Visitation Can Become Very Complex for Suffolk County or Nassau County Courts

Since judges in Nassau County and Suffolk County do not have jurisdiction over the parent’s right to move, the issue becomes increasingly complex. The choice that must be made is whether to allow custody to remain with the moving parent, or to change the custodial parent. In determining the child’s best interests, Suffolk County and Nassau County courts will consider the impact that the move will have on the child’s relationship with the noncustodial parent as well as the extended family. The court will also consider the likelihood of increased hostility between the parents and the impact that it will have on the child. Furthermore, the court will take into account the potential benefits of the move. For example, if a child will enjoy increased economic, educational and emotional benefits by moving with the custodial parent, the courts will see this favorably. A second marriage of the custodial parent is also considered favorable if it will afford the child increased economic security.

Questions About Child Custody and Visitation on Long Island?

To learn more about what you need to know about Child Custody on Long Island, visit this page on Child Custody or contact us at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary consultation

Contact a Compassionate, Experienced Long Island Child Custody Lawyer in Suffolk County or Nassau County for Relocation Help

If you or your child’s other parent wish to move or relocate, it is likely that your divorce, child custody and visitation agreement can, or may need to be modified. You need to consult with an experienced Long Island Child Custody Attorney who knows the ins and outs of these complex issues. Our compassionate attorneys are experienced in all Child Custody and Visitation issues in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Contact our office at 631-923-1910for a free, confidential consultation with a compassionate, experienced child custody lawyer.

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Get Answers to Your Divorce Questions:

  • How to Know if It’s Time for a Divorce?
  • Divorce or Legal Separation? Which is Right for Me?
  • What are the Grounds for Divorce in New York State?
  • How to Find the Right Divorce Lawyer
  • What Are Your Child Custody Options?
  • The Ins & Outs of Child Support on Long Island
  • Do I Have to Pay Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)?
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